Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Those Lazy, Hazy Days of Summer...

Summer is coming to an least those really warm, rather lazy and sorta' crazy days of summer that require children in the house to make authentic...

This past week in town I noticed a number of signs of the end of that good thing we call summer around here:

-there were boys with their fishing gear waiting for a light to change so they could make their way down to the least they were headed in that direction

-the numbers of boats on the water has increased as the month of August has flown people are trying to squeeze out of the last days more time on the ocean

-the bees/wasps/hornets are making a final push...they just sit on you, I have found some crawling up my sleeve or pant leg but they are very friendly this year, nevertheless, I have put out my catchers because everyone around here isn't as comfortable around the bees and there are masses of them...

-the mornings are cooler and the sky is darker at 6 am than I would like...

-the skies are more colourful and brilliant during the day and in the evening (caught this sky while we waited for the ferry)...

-the grass on the hillsides is golden and dry...

-the big treat of the week was this siting I had of this remarkable car...the fellow had the top down but he was wearing his fleecy...

Wishing you all a lovely beginning to September and may your days ahead be balmy and bright.  For those of you 'of a certain age' you may really enjoy this song and for those younger, well ...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Thankful, I am...

"If you cannot be content with what you have received, be thankful for what you have escaped."

The following reasons for thankfulness come to mind quickly...
1.  Physical work...good for the soul...

(my personal job site first thing on Monday off painting!)

"No great thing is created suddenly."  -Epictetus

2.  Sweet marriages...from my view...Happy new year of marriage, Shelby and Kim.

"If all gambling were illegal, we would all have to stop driving cars and getting married."

3.  Good time with God...prayers answered...thoughts that stay with me all day...

A sketchbook on your table helps keep the chapter for the day in your mind.  Recently I started reading Desire of Ages again and find that sketching the chapter keeps it with me from one day to another.

4.  Small sitings of 'pets' watching over the construction site...

...I do love the rebar/wire mix

5.  Good memories...sometimes we spent our Sabbath afternoons in Mexico driving around the countryside observing life as they live it...

6.  A sweet daughter-in-law who is celebrating her birthday today.  We are so happy to have her as part of our family.  All the strengths she brings have been a blessing to us all.  Happy, happy birthday, dear Kim.

7.  This past week I enjoyed taking photos of our construction site...the best part was catching Sherwin doing what he does best...smiling...

Now you all have a great week and remember...
"There's one thing for which you should be thankful - only you and God have all the facts about yourself."

Pouring Concrete At Last...

Shirley asked me to add the commentary to her construction photos on this post.

On Tuesday this week James Robertson, chief building inspector for the Capital Regional District came  for his first inspection so we could pour concrete.  His first words when he got out of his car were, "Who is responsible for the wonderful driveway?"  I told him it was mostly me, as I had brought over 55 loads of gravel from Victoria on my truck and my wife and I shovelled them off by hand.  I told him it was the nicest compliment he could have given me.  He was also very favourably impressed with the foundation preparations and the rebar columns.  He was surprised to learn that we had done all the rebar stirrups ourselves and thought it all looked very professional. I told him we learned how to do rebar in Mexico when we built an orphanage there.  

Within five minutes after the building inspector left we had the cement mixer running.  Shirley and I worked for two hours straight and did the footing concrete in Foundation #3 and then #1... averaging one wheelbarrow of concrete every five minutes.  Notice the size of the pile of gravel.  Before we had supper that whole pile was turned into concrete.

This is foundation #1. It was the first one I did and hence it was smaller than all the others.  It was not until we went to place the rebar column cage into the hole that I realized I could not centre it properly in the 28" wide opening, so I had to cut another 8" of concrete slab away.  This gave me an opportunity to widen the excavation and I added another four foundation rebars.  This brings this foundation now up to an equal standard with the other three foundations for columns.

There was another problem to deal with that didn't show up until I took the plywood off the wall and found there was not enough space between the two overhead door tracks.  It would not be a problem if we were doing a wooden or steel post... but with concrete posts that are designed for seismic stress it takes more space.  So at the top of the post it meant we would have to bend the 5/8" bars and do a little custom work so we could keep both overhead garage doors working as before.  We built this cage on the workshop table and then just slid it directly into the hole... it worked out really well.

First we poured the 12" deep footing and I let it set for a little while.  Shirley went and did the painting on the deck and when she came back said how much easier it was to do painting than mixing concrete.  I used a mix of concrete with half the powder and threw in all the blocks of concrete slab that originally we cut out of the floor... so it filled up pretty quickly.  Once this is set I will drill several holes around the perimeter of the opening and place rebars going both ways before finishing the slab.

That little cement mixer ran non-stop all afternoon.

This most definitely is not 'women's work'... but Shirley helped run the mixer most of the afternoon... taking a break to go and do some painting on the decks!
That afternoon I called down to Home Hardware and inquired if they knew anyone who could help me with mixing concrete on site here.  So the next day with the help of Tyler we filled six feet of concrete 18" x 18".

From this point up the form will be 13" square... leaving about 2-1/2" rock ledge for facing the column to the top.

This was Tyler's first time working with a cement mixer... and for 15 years old, he did really good.  I had another stock pile of navy jack (gravel), which was about the same size as we used up the day before.  In two days we used up 7.5 yards of gravel. (5 pickup loads.)

Today we used the tractor instead of a wheelbarrow... it was easier to get the concrete into the column forms if you don't have to lift it.

We also placed the concrete into Foundation #7... the pantry addition.

This concrete pour worked out really well and we had just enough gravel to finish it all.

I made anchor bolts out of left over ready rod... giving them a little bend.

I then put the anchor bolts at approx. 32" spacing.  Again this foundation has a 3" rock ledge on the outside.

At the last minute I remembered I needed a special post bracket to tie down the support post for one end of the major beam.  Fortunately I had one left over in the workshop... so I welded an extra rebar across the bottom bolt which I then tucked under the foundation wall lateral rebar.  It was a perfect fit.

Check out the join of the foundation to the paved driveway.  When we pulled off the forms we were very pleased.

We took a day off to go to Victoria to get some more gravel.  Then on Friday Tyler came back again for the afternoon and we mixed up some "real mud" which we used to backfill Foundation #3.  I was concerned about getting the hole backfilled so every nook and cranny was full... and just dumping dirt and gravel in didn't seem to me that it would be tight enough.  So we mixed our backfill dirt and gravel with half strength cement powder.  

We made it extra wet so that it flowed easily into the outside corners.

Having grown up on a farm, this reminded me a lot of the cow manure I had to clean out of the dairy barn.  But having made so many adobe blocks, I knew that with the cement added it would dry and harden.  We also threw in a lot of larger rocks with helped to tighten it all up.

The next day when the concrete had set I knew we had done the right thing for backfilling this foundation.  We used three bags of cement in the mud for this cavity.

Footing #2 was another big one... 5-1/2 foot square and 12" deep.  It took 18 wheelbarrows of concrete to fill up the footing. The white 2x2's on each side told us when the concrete was 12 inches deep.

Foundation #4 was four foot square... and as we were running out of gravel we threw in a few smaller stones to help bring us up to the full 12 inch depth.  Again I had a guide stick on the side to tell us when we had enough concrete in the footing.

Shirley here:
This is getting very exciting, it is very thrilling to see it evolve day by day.

"A great building must begin with the unmeasurable, must go through measurable means when it is being designed and in the end must be unmeasurable." - Louis Kahn

Friday, August 26, 2011

Sweet Memory

We are hoping to go to Butchart tomorrow and I just happened to find this great photo while cleaning out my old Toshiba...Hmmmm...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Word to Ponder for the Week

Self-esteem:  that which happens when I do what I say I know I should do...when what I say and what I do line up with what I believe to be right.  Self-esteem is a positive force in our hearts and minds that encourages us to move forward.  It seems to be the opposite of living up to other's ill-conceived expectations of us.  In other words, live in such a way as to respect yourself.

"That kind of life is most happy which affords us most opportunity of gaining our own esteem."
                                          - Samuel Johnson

"It is difficult to make a man miserable while he feels worthy of himself and claims kindred to the great God who made him."
                                          - Abraham Lincoln

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Photo of the Week

Laying on my side, admiring one small aspect of our work this week.

Wishing you all a great day, hoping your past week has been a source of joy to you.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

What Does 45 Years Mean...

In the past 45 years, if I have learned anything at all, I would have to say that I have learned that Love comes in many different forms and ways.  It isn't always as I had expected.  Expectations are highly overrated.

And in the past 45 years, if I have any regrets at all, it would be that too many times I have not accepted or given Love without understanding.  Understanding, also, is highly overrated.

Job by William Baer

Job 28:28

Yes: wisdom begins with fear of the Lord, 
which comprehends the power that made the seas,
the earth, the shimmering dawn, the unexplored
unfathomed skies, the moon, and the Pleiades.
Which also know Who coming to judge our shoddy
little failing lives, knowing full well, 
we need not fear the one who kills the body,
but only He who condemns the soul to hell.
Which also knows it magnifies the Lord,
defying the demon, being the only release, 
oddly enough, from fear, being its own reward,
which is also wise, is faith, is hope, is peace,
is tender mercy, over and over again,
until at last, is love, is LOVE.  Amen.

Somehow, this poem reminds me of long married LOVE.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Week of Mostly Good

Day is done, gone the sun...

The week does not usually get counted like this for me (Sunday is the first day of the week, I know)  but we are going to start with Saturday last because I have been in a whirl all week, distracted with all that has happened here.  But I know that each day this past week I have felt blessed and full, full, full of gratitude for something...

Every day has been gloriously sunny at some point in the day.  The morning may start off misty and grey but before long all that has burned off and we are feeling the warmth of Mr. Big Yellow.

But now for this past week...

Sabbath, August 6  Our son-in-law, Alan, celebrated his birthday with his nearest and dearest while the rest of us chirped in from a distance with our songs of celebration.   We are happy to call him 'son' and appreciate the stability and wisdom he brings to our 'table'.  May your new year, Alan, be all that you wish for and desire.

Sunday, August 7  I took the day off of painting, scraping, sanding on decks to clean up my garden and make things tidy.  Sherwin continued to dig out more dirt from the holes in our driveway/garage area where he is building the foundations. When I can only see his shoulders above the asphalt I think the hole MUST be deep enough.  Actually, this hole got deeper still but just don't have the most up-to-date photo of the depth.

He took out rock after rock from these holes making them deep enough to meet requirements of the engineer...

Some rocks had to be sliced up and chipped out because of their size...

Monday, August 8  Last night the pastor of the Victoria church and his family arrived to have a few days of R&R here at our cabin.  Preachers have a tough job so I am always happy to make up a bed for them to get some peace and quiet away from the 'work'.  Ken, Francis and daughter Heather took us to dinner Wednesday night for a delightful time.  Looking forward to more time with these folks.

Tuesday, August 9  Hallelujah, I have figs!  Well, not me, but our little fig tree which I love dearly and have watched over like a mother hen.

Wednesday, August 10  With only minimal help from me Sherwin has built the first rebar column for foundation no.3.  It was the trickiest one of all so that is where we started.  It has 16 bars of 5/8" rebar connected at each junction of 3/8" rebar bands, with wire. 

Good thing we learned to tie wire to rebar in Mexico.  Never knew that talent would come in so handy here at home.  In the middle of this next photo you see the wires are doubled because we had real difficulty getting the lower bars up to the cross pieces.  I torqued on them with a tool while Sherwin quickly tied and you see there is still a wee space of air between.  

Thursday, August 11  The engineer, for whom we had waited with baited breath, finally showed up and loved the preparations made for the footings and foundations for our new carport/studio addition.  In fact, he said they looked professionally prepared.  Sherwin was pleased and celebrated by standing up the first column.  Don't ask questions about how we do some of these things.  I do believe the angels help us at every turn...and our little green tractor.  The column weighed in at 238 pounds.

And here it is Friday, August 12...We have spent the day in Victoria running errands and giving our bodies a day of no unusual exercise.

Of course, we have tomorrow for Real Rest but today was needed too.

Sherwin and I were invited to a presentation at the site of the new under construction Oak Bay Beach Hotel where David Foster of the composer/musician/talent finder fame talked about giving to help his foundation which gives support to families of children undergoing organ transplant surgery. David spoke of how blessed he felt to be able to give and made a great case for monied folks to learn the benefits of generosity.

David is planning a concert here in Victoria at the time of the Grand Opening of the new Oak Bay Beach Hotel in May, 2012.  The Hotel is partnering with the Foster Foundation to raise awareness and funds for organ donation families across Canada.

So, as the week is drawing to a close, you can see that we are thankful for our children, for safety, for our health and I am thankful for you all.  God bless and be well.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Sounds of Summer

While painting on Deck 6 this week I noticed that even though I was all by myself with no visible means of entertainment around me I began to really hear the noises and sounds that happen in the summer on our little island.

...ship's whistle blown when the ferry wants a pleasure craft out of it's way
...chug, chug, chug of said ferry even though I am over 500 feet above the water
...squirrels chattering to one another
...eagle's chittering nearby ( I love the word 'chittering' since I learned that is the sound eagles make)
...hammer from the other side of the house where husband is working on rebar and foundations
...chain saw buzz of the neighbour
...birds singing
...bees humming along
...small boats plying the waters of Navy Channel below me
...occasional cars passing on the road below that is hid from view by tall trees and then the bark of a dog...probably Jessie

and, oh yes, I can hear the weeds growing in my gardens behind me.

You see why I say Thank You every morning...